Southwest Quinoa Salad

bowl of quinoa salad with avocado, vegetables and cilantro

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5 from 13 reviews

The perfect Southwest Quinoa Salad for any occasion – meal prep, lunch, dinner, cookout sides, you name it. Tossed in a cilantro chili lime dressing for a delicious flavor boost. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan and packed with goodness.


Units Scale

for the salad

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked or canned corn (drain if canned)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • avocado for topping

Cilantro Chili Lime Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Cook quinoa: place 1 cup rinsed quinoa with 2 cups water or broth in medium pot; bring to boil then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat once cooked, fluff with fork and transfer to large bowl to cool.
  2. Prepare the veggies: meanwhile drain black beans, corn, chop bell peppers, dice onion and chop fresh cilantro.
  3. Combine: Add veggies to bowl with quinoa and gently toss together
  4. Make the dressing: add all dressing ingredients in medium bowl or blend in small food processor (I used the Nutri Bullet.)
  5. Combine dressing and salad bowl: Create a well in the center of salad bowl and pour half of dressing into bottom of bowl. Stir gently and then add remaining dressing, tossing again to combine.
  6. Serve salad over bed of salad greens and top with avocado if desired. Enjoy!


Salad would be also great with an additional source of protein like crock pot chicken. This salad is meant to be served cold but I also warmed up a couple of different times for leftovers.

Instant Pot Quinoa Cooking: Place 1 cup rinsed quinoa in Instant Pot with 1 1/2 cups broth or water. Pressure cook on HIGH for 1 Minute. Natural release pressure for 10 minutes. Unlock lid, stir and done!